Charles Dickens began his novel A Tale of Two Cities with the following:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..." If he were to sit down to write today, I wonder if he would find the same words.
In so many ways we can speak of this truly being the best of times. We live in era of medical advancement and technologies that have the power to heal and enhance the quality of our lives. Our nation stands as a beacon of hope for freedom and democracy. Our Jewish community enjoys unfettered opportunities for self-expression and religious practice.
And yet we begin this week after learning of an alleged terror attack in St. Cloud, Minnesota where 9 people in a mall were stabbed by an attacker with the terror group ISIS claiming responsibility, one explosion with 29 injuries in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City and another pressure cooker bomb found a few blocks away and contained, an explosion along a route of a race for military veterans in Season Park, NJ, unexploded devices found at a train station in Elizabeth, NJ and several stabbing attacks in Israel by terrorists, one leaving a Jerusalem police officer fighting for her life.
Yes, these are unsettling times. And this is why we are part of a larger community.
The Jewish community is your family. We are here to catch you when you fall, to celebrate with you in times of joy, to comfort you when the unimaginable happens and to work with you so that we can meet the needs wherever they may be.
When there are terror attacks in Israel, we are there with emergency counseling and financial assistance. When there are natural disasters or terror attacks in the United States, we are there to lend a helping hand, with emergency counseling and financial assistance. The Jewish Federation is the safety net for the Jewish people.
But in order for us to be able to respond in times of crisis, we must be strong, able and prepared. And that takes resources; both human and financial.
This Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. our Jewish Federation will kick off the 2017 campaign with a special training designed for the novice or the veteran. We need your help to have personal conversations with other members of our community so that they can participate in strengthening our community's ability to respond when there is crisis, enhance our present abilities to educate, socialize, recreate, and empower and ensure that our Jewish community is here for us all. Will you help?
While we would love to know you will be there and you can do so easily by emailing Director of Development, Amy Holtz at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will happily welcome you as a walk in.
It's always something, that's why there's Federation. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
With prayers for peace and security,
Judy Alperin Diamondstein
Chief Executive Officer